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Wildlife

Park Memories

Waiting to Be Made It was January 1993. I was in my first month of a dream job as a staff photographer and writer for Nebraskaland Magazine, and I was flustered. Then editor Don Cunningham had placed a large stack of hardbound Nebraskaland volumes on my desk and asked me to become familiar with the material so I could pitch him a few of my own story ideas. Not wanting to fail my first assignment, I pored over roughly two …

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Est. 1921 – Chadron State Park

Western Eden, Where It All Began Under the headline of “Western Eden,” the front page of the July 8, 1921, Chadron Journal proclaimed that the Nebraska Legislature had “builded better than it knew” by creating its first state park. “For years to come all of Nebraska’s citizendom can point with honest pride to Nature’s play ground near its western boundary. It is an inspiration to view this locality, and to walk its cool shady paths with the knowledge that it …

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The Addiction of Spring Wild Turkey Hunting in Nebraska

Turkey hunter and outdoor writer Tom Kelly once wrote, “I do not hunt turkeys because I want to. I hunt them because I have to. I would, really, rather not. But I am helpless in the grip of my compulsion.” I completely agree! Anyone who has ever spent a gorgeous Nebraska spring morning with their back leaning against the base of a mature hardwood tree or sitting in a camouflaged blind, using a call and decoys to lure a wild …

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Corn Your Own Wild Game or Beef for St. Paddy’s Day

*Blogger’s Note: Once again I am receiving a lot of requests for corned meat recipes because Saint Patrick’s Day is just around the bend. So, I am bringing back my blog about corning beef and wild game. I hope you find it informative and have the time to try one of these delicious recipes. I raise my glass to you and exclaim: “Sláinte!” (slawn-cha), which is an Irish Gaelic term meaning “health.” Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! GW. Saint Patrick’s Day is …

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2020 Photo Contest

Best of Show With more than 2,500 entries, the 2020 Nebraskaland Magazine Photo Contest drew a record number of stunning images from Nebraska photographers in the categories of Wildlife, Flora, Scenic and Recreation. This year’s Best of Show winner, “Young Buck” by Karen Kader of Omaha, was shot at Chalco Hills Recreation Area. She used Lightroom as her post-image software, adding shadow and accessing the program’s color sliders to accentuate the photo. We thank everyone who participated and look forward …

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Sleeping with the Cranes

An Adventure Story I’m often asked about the best place to see the sandhill cranes during their annual spring stopover in Nebraska. My reply: Do you want to see the cranes or experience them? The former requires getting a reservation in a riverside viewing blind, several of which are available in the central Platte River Valley. But if you really want to experience the cranes, I tell them, you need to spend the night with the birds on the river. …

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The Science of Antlers

Antler Basics Horns and antlers, decorative headgear sported by some of Nebraska’s best-known species, are not the same. Horns are keratin, a hair-like sheath, that grows over a bony core throughout an animal’s life. They are found on pronghorn, bison, cattle, goats and sheep. Antlers, however, are bones that grow each spring and summer and are shed, or cast, late the following winter as the animal’s testosterone levels decrease. You’ll find them on deer and elk. Antlers grow up to …

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A Conservation Dream Come True

A man-made prairie-chicken lek finds success. It was a calm March morning when Dan Leuenberger first heard it: the echoing calls of greater prairie-chickens. Climbing a hill on his Johnson County farm, he spotted a flock of about 20 birds gathered for mating season. Each spring, males congregate on leks, or display grounds, to perform mating rituals that have made the species an icon of the prairie. They stomp, leap, spin in circles, inflate orange air sacs on their neck …

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Think Like a Buck to Find Shed Deer Antlers

A wildlife biologist I once knew used tell me that to be an effective shed deer antler hunter, you must know white-tailed deer biology and “think like a buck” during winter and early spring. I get the biology part, but “think like a buck?” Hmmm … Luke Meduna who’s the Big Game Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, responds to that shed antler hunting strategy by saying: “Yes, to be successful, a shed deer antler hunter needs …

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Winter Scouting For Spring Wild Turkey Hunting

We are still in the icy, frigid grips of winter. Ice fishing activity rules the day. However, the length of daylight is increasing. Deer have begun shedding their antlers. Some sandhill cranes have arrived already along the Platte River in south-central Nebraska. It is calving season on ranches in the Nebraska Sandhills. These are all indicators that spring is just around the bend. For those of us who spring wild turkey hunt, our thoughts are drifting to the woods where …

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